Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border voted against the Government for the key amendment to the Agriculture Bill yesterday that would have enshrined the UK’s commitment to high animal welfare and food production standards in future trade agreements into law.
Amendment 16 from the House of Lords was voted on in the House of Commons late last night but it failed to pass without Government support. The amendment would have made it a ‘requirement for agricultural and food imports to meet domestic standards.’
Speaking after the Commons vote Dr Hudson said ‘I was really disappointed that the Government did not support this sensible and important amendment to the legislation. I am convinced that this was an opportunity to raise animal welfare and food production standards both here and globally and show what our values are. I regret that the Government did not seize it.’
‘It is not as if this amendment would have tied the Government’s hands or made it an outlier in trade negotiations as provisions on animal welfare have previously been included in free trade agreements such as between the EU and Chile and South Korea.’
‘As an MP and a veterinary surgeon, I will make no apology for standing up for animal welfare and our farmers in Penrith and The Border by insisting on high animal welfare standards which would benefit farmers and animals not only in the UK but across the globe. I will keep going on this to uphold our high animal welfare and farming standards of which we can be so proud. The UK can be a beacon to the rest of the world on this.”
The Agriculture Bill had been sent back to the House of Commons to consider after the House of Lords amended the legislation.